Here’s How to Solve Your Turndown Problem

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May 6, 2015

Dear Barb:

I just had my third offer turndown this quarter. I had zero all year and don’t know what I’m doing wrong? When I try to get feedback from the candidates they don’t respond. I don’t know where to start to solve this problem. It’s hard to close deals because candidates have more options and are harder to control than ever before.

Mary D.
Indianapolis, IN

Dear Mary:

There are specific reasons for most offer turndowns:

  1. The opportunity is not exactly what this candidate envisioned as their next logical career move.
  2. The offer was lower than anticipated.
  3. The candidate decided to stay at their current employer and probably negotiated a counteroffer.
  4. Another job offer was extended that was a better offer.
  5. Your candidates priorities have changed.

More importantly, let me provide solutions for the five reasons outlined above.

1. When you interview, conduct a general interview with no specific job in mind. Often you will discover that the candidate does not want to continue doing what they are currently doing. Always ask:

  • What are the five things you’d change if you were your boss?
  • What must be there for you to accept a new opportunity today?

These will reveal their real reason(s) for contemplating a change.

2. To avoid a low-ball offer, pre-close both the candidate and client throughout the entire placement process.

3. If your candidate’s only reason for changing a job is money and advancement, they will accept a counteroffer. You need to recruit additional candidates.

4. You goal is to send every candidate on more than one opportunity or they will interview on their own. The internet and social media have made this easier. The minute you book a candidate on an interview, you need to market them to other clients or companies they want you to target on their behalf.

5. Answers provided by your candidate on a first interview, are similar to answers on a first date. There is no trust or rapport so answers are guarded. It is important to re-interview throughout your entire placement process. As rapport and trust improves, answers become more thorough and you will be aware if priorities have changed.

You can’t control candidates. Your goal should be to develop rapport based on trust. People like to buy, but they don’t like to be sold. Implement the solutions listed above and you will dramatically reduce offer turndowns.

Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS


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